The Financial Times (UK): Britain and Russia – the odd couple of Europe

The Financial Times (Великобритания): Британия и Россия – странная пара Европы

Existing today between the Russian-British antagonism hides some important similarities between these countries. They are on the outskirts of the European continent. Both countries consider themselves to be European and what else. And in both countries still have a strong nostalgia for Imperial might.Existing today between Russia and Britain deep antagonism hides some important similarities between these countries. These Parallels can manifest much more clearly after Breccia and in such a way that it should cause alarm as the United Kingdom and the EU.Britain and Russia are on the fringes of the European continent. Partly because of this they have traditionally been a dual identity as both countries consider themselves to be European and what else. Almost 80 percent of Russian territory is in Asia. The British Empire was created outside of Europe and this country still maintains strong cultural ties with the “anglosphere” in North America, Australasia and South Asia.There is therefore nothing surprising in the fact that Britain and Russia can become two major European powers, who lives outside the European Union. But they will continue to disturb the collective power of the European Union. Being peripheral Nations, they have always feared and gain domination of any one country on the European mainland. Partly because of this, they were allies during the Napoleonic and two world wars. Each of these countries builds his contemporary identity on the memories of the victory in 1945. And in both countries still have a strong nostalgia for Imperial might.In Britain, the comparison with Russia is not cause of inspiration. They emphasize the danger that Breaksit may cause long-term deterioration of relations with continental Europe and to the strengthening of the policy of violent nationalism in the UK.For Brussels the danger lies in the fact that the EU is ultimately face to face with two angry and alienated neighbors — Britain in the West and Russia in the East. Both are great powers and have great potential to commit evil shenanigans.Of course, Britain has a rich liberal and democratic tradition which is not from Russia. For this reason, political values, London is closer to Paris and Berlin than to Moscow. And British political class are unlikely to allow their country to the winds, as does Russia under Vladimir Putin.But geopolitics is driven not only by values. There are also emotions and strategic interests. In this regard, Parallels between post-Soviet Russia and Britain after Breccia can not but cause concern.Economic chaos and the strategic failures of the 1990s years have convinced many Russians that the West used their country for their own benefit. The Russians have focused their anger on US expansion and NATO. However, the Kremlin and the EU also saw a threat, as the European Union, in Moscow’s view, infringe on its natural boundary sphere of influence. The Kremlin’s decision to launch a military intervention in Ukraine was caused by the fact that the country was preparing to sign the Association agreement with the EU.If PACSICOM something goes wrong, it will cause such events which vividly recall the breakup of the Soviet Union. It should be said that the collapse of this country was accompanied by deep economic turmoil. English nationalists will surely consider that and the EU is also involved in such hostile activities. Some critics today accuse Brussels in creating artificial problems on the Irish border, unreasonably delay the deal on free trade and to provoke the Scots to fight for independence.While the British and European officials are cautious and use the language of friendship and partnership. But beneath the surface, and in an informal atmosphere brewing antagonism. One influential former official of the EC told me recently that since post-EU Britain would represent a threat to him, Europe is keen to push the Scots towards independence, and the Irish to unite. When I remembered the Parallels with Russia, said that to humiliate the United Kingdom was unreasonable, I said that Britain itself is to blame in this humiliation. And besides, she is also humiliated the European Union voted to withdrawal from it. (“You said that better than us.”)Even officially, you can hear hints of the future competition. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, typically the moderate statements, recently said that after Breccia Britain will become a rival of the EU. That is, she put London on a par with Beijing and Washington.If the EU in response to the threat of competition will refuse from free trade with Britain, which is very likely, the feud between London and Brussels will increase. Europeans quite rightly will be able to talk about the fact that Britain itself has prepared himself for such a sad fate, just like Russia. But to win the argument will not help to stop the confrontation.If the situation is constantly deteriorate, the United Kingdom (or maybe just England) will play the cards that remain to him, reducing cooperation with Europe in the sphere of security and diplomacy, and interacting with the forces that are hostile to the EU.At the moment the capital of the European Union do not take these threats seriously, because in Britain there is complete confusion. The same dismissive, condescending attitude was to the Russian in the 1990-ies. In the end, their country fell apart, and the economy was in free fall. But spurred by a sense of humiliation, Russia has regained its strength, making it so that now it is a concern in the European Union.The main conclusion is that countries that for centuries were the major European powers, can’t just lose all meaning. Their interests must be considered. So or otherwise, but excluding Britain and Russia European design is unlikely to be sustainable and safe.

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